Arachnophobia – Fear of Spiders

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“Arachnophobia – Fear of Spiders”

Michelle Swearingen

MOD A June 23, 2011

Everest Institute San Antonio, TX

Arachnophobia is an abnormal and persistent fear of spiders. From the Greek word “arachne”

meaning "spider" and “phobos” meaning "fear". There are historical and cultural reasons for

arachnophobia. In the Dark Ages spiders were commonly considered to be a source of

contamination of food and water. They were believed to be the cause of the Bubonic Plague

(though in reality rat-fleas were in fact the true culprits). This misplaced fear has been passed

down since the 10th Century.

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Arachnophobia is one of the most common phobias. Persons who suffer from severe

arachnophobia can experience a wide variety of symptoms. The worst among them is

uncontrollable anxiety when especially when the object or situation is actually encountered. In

severe cases the symptoms can include panic attacks, sweating, palpitations, breathing difficulty,

and trembling. Symptoms can surface just at the mere thought of any encounter with feared

object or situation. The effects can severely limit normal everyday activities and sometimes a

person with a phobia may try using drugs or alcohol in an attempt to minimize the anxiety.

Most patients are usually aware that the actuality of being harmed by an actual spider is very

slim or even nonexistent. However, they will sometimes take extreme precautions to make sure

they do not encounter their worst fear. Some will avoid going barefoot even in their own homes,

avoid dark places, and use caution when getting in and out of bed or using the restroom. Patients

experience nightmares and can eventually become agoraphobic.

No one can be sure of the true cause for phobias. Phobias can run in families especially when a

child is taught to fear what their parents are afraid of. Phobias can also develop as a result of

traumatic events or situations. Phobias are...
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